7 December 2013

The box I have my lemons stored in is tucked away under a shelf in the for’ard part of the boat. Yesterday afternoon I stuck my hand in to get one and found there were quite a few that had gone off. I pulled the box out into the cockpit and drew a bucket of water then rinsed the worst of the mould from the remaining good ones. I had to chuck out about half a dozen as they had gone to mush but the rest were salvageable and they’ll do for a bit yet.

While I was doing this a small squad of flying fish flew up as if from a starting gun and skirted over the wave tops. They have been very scarce on this trip. By this time in 2006 I’d had to pick them off the deck in the mornings regularly. I’ll get a breakfast or two from them yet. They are amazingly quick when they lift off and glide for surprisingly long distances. They will fly from wave to wave, sometimes it will end in a crash-landing and at other times with a flick of the tail they would be off again as if from a slingshot. I can imagine the older salts on the square-riggers telling the young lads shipping out in a British winter on their first trip that they would see fish that could fly and the sun would be so hot it would cook an egg cracked on to a metal plate on the deck. How far fetched it must have seemed. I’m still waiting to see my first mermaid though.

The wind fell away during the night and veered more into the east. At 0300 I had to gybe round to keep us heading on course. We were more or less dead downwind and with the Genoa poled out and us sailing goose winged we rolled constantly gunwhale up and gunwhale down all night.

There was a strange sky in the morning. The clouds stretching out on each side of the rising sun were small, individual and each one had been squashed down with the heel of a hand to flatten it out. It looked as though a massed fleet of flying saucers were flying in from the east.

The wind has held fine all morning, NE’ly F3-4 with a hot sun and blue skies. I baked a Chibata bread and it came out really good. I had a couple of big chunks for lunch then had to go for more with jam for dessert.
Our noon position puts us about 75nm from the west side of Santo Antao; the western edge of the Cape Verde’s. On average there is more chance of a steadier wind to the west of the group than from sailing through them so we are skirting the western edge before diving south to the equator. Visibility can be poor around the islands at times so whether we will actually see them or not is guesswork. We’ll know tomorrow.

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